Why Early Birds Struggle To Get Jobs At Job Fairs
By Mike Bowman

The early bird gets the worm. Right? Not in the case of job fairs. Show up early and there is a good chance you wonít get noticed at all. This may sound counter-intuitive as we have always been told to show up early, so we can demonstrate our punctuality and work ethic. However, in the case of job fairs, showing up early, often backfires because everyone shows up early. Even TV crews and newspaper reporters know this. They show up with their cameras right before the job fair opens, because long lines of job seekers at the door makes for dramatic pictures.

Where the early birdsí resumes end up.
The first couple of hours at a job fair can be very stressful for recruiters. They can easily be overwhelmed trying to manage a large number of applicants vying for their attention all at once. It is often impossible to have any meaningful interaction with all the job seekers, so recruiters take resumes, add them to the stack of others, and hand applicants a list of open positions and maybe some company brochures. So guess where the resume of the very first person to arrive ends up? On the bottom of the resume stack that grows taller throughout the day.

Things will settle down later in the day, allowing you to have more time with company representatives. With the crowd thinned out, you will be able to move about the job fair more freely. You will get much more face time with employers; this is particularly important as it allows you to ask about unadvertised positions in the company or referrals to other hiring managers looking for your skills.

Show up later and get a job interview.
If time permits its not uncommon for recruiters to give you a full screening / interview right at the job fair if they are interested in your resume. Getting this opportunity is like job fair gold; you skip the entire application process and sit down right in front of a decision maker. That is not going to happen first thing in the morning with literally hundreds of applicants walking by the booth looking for information. Additionally, you may see they've accumulated a large pile of resumes. Guess where your resume will go? Right on top.

Still concerned that showing up later in the day will reflect badly on you? Thank the hiring manager for taking time to talk to you and that you were at work or with a client earlier in the morning. That lets the hiring manager know you value customers before yourself. A highly prized trait.


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